Good-Bye Alby, Bill Is Born

History may be written in the books of the famous – but it is created by the lives of everyday individuals
Anne-Kaete Pocklington


Good-Bye Alby, Bill Is Born

Anyway, all this came to an end in January 1945, when a new life started for Bill Pocklington.

To start with he stopped being Albert, and with it the hated Family name for him of ‘ALBY’, which he hated so much. Being small of stature, this cosy name Alby was very much against the grain. So he chose William, called Bill to all and sundry and so this was the Day BILL was born.

And what should the Marines do with these smaller men amongst the Giants? They trained and trained them until they were smarter than smart. And where Bill was coming from that was some climb, but he loved it all. Only one thing always stayed in Bill’s Memory in that time. Amusing him but with an undertone of anger, I always thought.

It was in Deal, there was a ‘Kings’ Parade due. Whether it was the Kings birthday, or whether the King or some special Officer was coming I don’t know. They had to spruce up the whole Barracks, their Kit, themselves, their smartness on Parade, the LOT. And they did. Until it came to the Day before this Parade. All lined up, one line of SMART.

On comes one Officer to march the line, the usual Inspection of ‘MEN’. He marches along, as usual, his eyes to the left, face to face with all these men. Suddenly •••••• a Gap in the line of Caps. HE LOOKS DOWN!!!!!

And Hell is let loose. SERGEANT, calls this Officer (if not a Gentleman), SERGEANT what are these men doing in my Parade? They are Marines, Sir, is the right answer. And the Officer bellows “I do not want these Men on the Parade to morrow, keep them out of my sight!”

The Fellow next to Bill says “WE, SIR, were called up to die for our King and Country, SIR!”. The Officer says: “if I see anything of any of you to morrow, YOU will know about it” and marches off. The Fellow Marine was never charged with anything for daring to speak to an Officer on Parade. That speaks for itself, I think. Just an incident, but Marine Pocklington never forgot.

And then they decided to send all these Marines abroad, to all places where Marines were still stationed. Some of them had been abroad for years and  needed, i.e. wanted, to come back to England.

So, after the War was now truly finished, he was sent to Germany to do his Duty for King and Country.

EMDEN was his first Station, with a nice Bunch of Navy Lads and some Marines. They introduced him the very first night to their Girlfriends and Family. Fraternisation was not allowed then but that has no meaning for soldiers far away from home and belonging to the Conquerors. He was a Driver and was mainly driving Officers. Taking them all over Germany on Duty and off Duty. All the time learning German. Memorizing phrases, wanting to know what was being discussed, talked about.

Then he was posted to WILHELMSHAVEN, on the Coast, about 100km North of Bremen. WILHELMSHAVEN was my hometown. He could already talk quite good German and was able to ‘pull’ the Girls better than some of his Pals. He then became the Ration Driver for HMS ROYAL RUPERT, a Shore Base of the Navy. This Base was stationed there for clearing the Under-Water-U Boat Shelters etc. etc.

Because all the labouring was done by Germans, he wanted to know what they were saying to each other. That was a big incentive, but also a fantastic means of making a few very good friends and Colleagues amongst the Germans. When we married Bill got wonderful presents from these people. And for years after, whenever we went to Germany, we visited quite a few of them. He was, indeed, different somehow. He certainly enjoyed his job and his friends very, very much. Had a few German Girlfriends and generally had a good time. He had to deliver the Rations a few times a week to all the married Quarters in and around Wilhelmshaven. He was the Darling of all the Officers, Sergeants, Ratings, Families as well.

And ‘Shorty’ was the man you turned to for all sorts of help in dealing with the Black Market, the Germans etc. etc. A friendly, always smiling, Yorkshireman abroad. But, of course, he would not have liked the ‘Shorty’ really, but he seemed not to mind because it was always friendly.

Well, comes a date, in a very large Dance Hall in Wilhelmshaven. And who should he meet, but a small, smiling German Girl with the unusual name ANNEKATE. And another section of his life begins.

And that, my friends, will have to wait for another blog post…


For myself, I hope that today’s post has, in some way, encouraged you – Dear Reader – to reflect on the life journeys you have and are undertaking.

As well as those undertaken by those who are near and dear to YOU.

You are who you are because of these journeys.

Where is YOUR journey taking you next, I wonder?


Oh, and by the way,

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Published: February 26, 2014, 19:35 | No Comments on Good-Bye Alby, Bill Is Born
Category: Freedom Of Environment, Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life

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